school lunch debt

Every day school cafeteria workers spend hours prepping and cooking for the many students who will need breakfast or lunch, but some students lack the funds needed to pay for their food.

“It is frustrating to some kids who come through and they know that they don’t have any money,” said Brookwood Elementary School Cafeteria Manager Polly Macon.

The School Nutrition Association found that at the end of the 2016/2017 school year, more than 75 percent of school districts across the country had unpaid student meal debt.

“It was brought to our attention some of the outstanding debts and I had no idea,” said Todd Price, President and CEO of Gwinnett County based Perimeter Roofing.

For four weeks now, Price has been going to schools around the state paying off meal debts.

On Tuesday morning, he visited Brookwood Elementary School.

“Me and my partners, we all have kids and I couldn’t imagine if my daughter came to school and couldn't get lunch or was embarrassed by the other kids so it was something we had to do.”

Students can qualify for free or reduced meals. In Gwinnett County reduced breakfast is 30 cents while reduced lunch is 40 cents but for some families, that is money they often don't have.

“There are a lot of students that fall between the cracks of free or reduced and full pay and so a lot of parents struggle,” said Macon.

Perimeter Roofing cut Brookwood Elementary School a check for $560.69 cents, the total amount owed by students there.

Price and his team then went to Pharr Elementary School and donated $322.77 to cover all of that school's meal debt.

“It is fabulous for our students,” said Pharr Elementary School Principal Lisa Rhodes. “We are so excited.”

A student's unpaid meal debt often rolls over to the next school year. Price wants to help alleviate the burden on families.

“We do want to hit every elementary school in the state of Georgia. That is our goal.”

Copyright 2018 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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